We are on a journey to advance racial equity for our employees, our guests, our community and our society. And we have made progress. Over the last year, guided by listening to our employees, we deepened our focus and work on racial equity, including making commitments and goals we believe are essential to ensuring a culture of overall diversity, belonging and opportunity for our employees, guests, and communities.
We’re focused on action and sustainable change, but know we have much work ahead, and we’ll continue to listen and learn on this journey. Here is an update of what is underway:
We’re committed to increasing racial diversity of our leadership to reflect the racial diversity of our frontline workforce. Today, a third of our frontline and manager levels are racially diverse compared to 16% racial diversity within leadership.
As we return to hiring, we’re working to ensure that our recruiting practices are inclusive and that we’re able to attract and retain diverse, talented people for roles at Alaska and Horizon, so that we can both hire and promote great talent:
- We updated recruiting strategies to attract more diverse talent, and revised processes to mitigate bias including requiring diverse candidate slates and interview panels. We also updated our succession planning approach and processes.
- We are deepening our outreach to young people to inspire and build interest in aviation careers, expanding our internship program, and creating a broader array of college partnerships to support a diverse pipeline.
- We’re enhancing programs that provide education, mentorship, training and scholarships to diverse talent. We also work with organizations like the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Solo Flight Academy and Girls Rock Wings to attract, maintain, mentor and support inclusivity, including Black female pilots, to join and stay at Alaska.
- And we are creating leadership development and sponsorship programs to attract, retain and develop more racial diversity at all levels.
We know that we manage what we measure, so we’re using data and analytics to more fully understand where we have gaps and opportunities to recruit and retain talent. We’re holding leaders accountable for progress. Diversity, equity and inclusion metrics are now part of performance-based compensation for executive leaders. More data on our workforce and a full breakdown by race and gender is available in our annual sustainability report.
We are committed to ensuring that Alaska is a place in which everyone sees themselves, feels they belong, and can be their best. That value is shared across our leadership team and our Board of Directors. To measure our progress, we aim to increase our company’s “Inclusion Index Score,” based on a set of key questions in our employee engagement survey, by 10 points. This work involves:
- Through DEI training at all levels of the company, and especially for leaders, we are creating awareness and education on equity and inclusion. To date we have completed racial equity training for all 23,000 employees. We’ve also conducted workplace equity workshops for all leaders and intervention training for frontline employees.
- We enhanced and trained managers to implement our zero-tolerance policy, to clarity and reinforce the definition of and expectations around harassment & discrimination.
- We’re engaging with, growing and listening to our Business Resource Groups, who build and support communities, and who also play a critical role in helping our leaders to better support employees.
- And we’re continuing to hold listening forums to support and learn from our employees about their experiences, our opportunities, and to gather input and feedback along this path.
As of February, our “Inclusion Index Score” increased by 9 pts.
We believe that education is the great equalizer and a critical component on the path to equity. And we’re building on years of investing in education and generating excitement in aviation through Aviation days in Portland and Seattle, and supporting incredible partners like the Michael P. Anderson program and Amelia’s Club, UNCF, The Roadmap Project, Alaska Native Science and Engineering (ANSEP), the San Jose Public Library, and more. Now through 2025, we’ve set our sights on supporting community-based education and career development opportunities to reach at least 175,000 young people, with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Our work includes working with experienced partners like the ones above, contributing tickets and miles to enable young people to get to school, volunteering, and hosting career panels and airport tours – which went virtual through the pandemic. In 2020, we awarded $750,000 in LIFT grants through the Alaska Airlines Foundation, whose mission is focused on enabling equity through education and career opportunity, to organizations like:
- Techbridge Girls, which encourages girls across the U.S. to be engaged with STEM careers and achieve economic mobility;
- College Possible, Oregon’s summer transition program helping young people successfully enroll in college; and
- ClimbHI in Hawaii, educating young people about career pathways in the visitor industry and the process to achieving their goals.
Next month, we look forward to hosting a virtual career panel with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and as we move beyond the pandemic, we look forward to further supporting for access to education through travel.
THE PATH AHEAD
At Alaska, we believe every person deserves respect, to feel like they belong and to have equal opportunity regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, age, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. As an airline, we’re driven by connecting people – and in this work, we’re driven to connect in our shared humanity.
We know we have taken just a few steps, and that this is a much longer journey. But we are grateful to be on it, alongside our employees and our guests.